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The Befriending Scheme - Bury St Edmunds

Learning Disabilities Framework Provider

Framework provider of day, evening and weekend activities for people with learning disabilities and autism

General Details

The Befriending Scheme provides friendship and learning opportunities for adults (16yrs+) from vulnerable groups, including those with mental health needs and older people, as well as our existing members with learning disabilities. We also offer various volunteering opportunities with extra support for those who need it

Bury Hub Group:

We run a drop-in centre in Bury St Edmunds for vulnerable adults aged 16 and over to access a range of activities including workshops, sports, crafts and information.

1-1 Befriending:

Please note that due to unprecedented demand, we are currently only accepting new referrals in the following areas:-

Bury St. Edmunds

Felixstowe & Woodbridge


All other areas remain closed until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Please be assured that our waiting list is under constant review and we endeavour to re-open the waiting list in the remaining areas as soon as possible. Those already on the list will remain on it although we cannot guarantee timescales for matching with a link.

This does not affect volunteers who would like to become a Befriender as Volunteer applications are still active in all areas. You can find more information on how to become a Befriender through our ‘Volunteering Opportunities’ page.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Is a One-To-One Befriender?

A Befriender is a volunteer who would like to spend some time with a member on a regular basis and provide them with friendship, company and support.  Volunteers and members may meet once a week, once a fortnight or once a month for a couple of hours. Meetings will be arranged with the support of your Link Co-ordinator.

Befrienders are there to listen and to talk with. If able to, members can get out and about with their befriender to carry out social activities including meeting for a coffee, going to the cinema amongst other things. Befrienders may also be able to visit the member at home in circumstances where the member is unable to leave their home. Members and volunteer befrienders are matched on location, hobbies and interests and personality.

All volunteers will have completed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and will have completed an induction to the service. 

What About Care and Support Needs?

The purpose of the one-to-one service is for volunteer Befrienders to provide individuals with company and companionship. Volunteers are not trained in personal care and are not responsible for addressing any personal care and support needs.

Does This Service Apply To Individuals With Dementia?

The Befriending Scheme will consider applications where the individual has Dementia, providing the individual meets the criteria outlined above. For safety reasons, The Befriending Scheme cannot accept referrals where the individual has surpassed a stage that we feel they would no longer benefit from the service.

How Can I Apply For This Service?

If you would like to apply to have a befriender, or would like to refer an individual to the service, you will need to complete a referral application form.

Please download our application form from our website. Alternatively, you may call the office on 01787 371 333 to request an application form be sent to you.

You will need to post a hard copy of the application form to us at:

The Befriending Scheme

1 The Croft

Sudbury, Suffok,

CO10 1HN

Once the application form has been received, the relevant Link Co-ordinator will be in touch to discuss eligibility. Individuals who are eligible will then go on to our waiting list for a Befriender. For individuals who are not eligible, we will do our best to signpost them to other organisations or support groups that may be better suited to their needs.

If you would like to know more about this service please see our website.

Who to contact

Annie Coole
Area CoOrdinator
01787 371333
The Croft
(Abv Northcroft)
CO10 1HN

Additional contact

Additional Website
Befriending Scheme on facebook

Where to go

The Befriending Scheme
The Quaker Meeting House
St Andrew’s Street North
Bury St. Edmunds
IP33 1SJ
Area served
Bury St Edmunds
Venue Email
Venue Website
People arrange their own transport

Days & Times

HUB group every Wednesday between 10:00am and 3:00pm, and Saturday group on last Saturday of each month between 2:00pm and 4:30pm
Time of day

Other details

Cost Details
This is a free service for those who are eligible based on the below referral criteria. Membership packages are available at a cost, Please visit for more information.
Referral required?
Referral and availability notes

Who Is Eligible For tis Service?

To be eligible for this service, individuals must meet at least one of the following criteria:

Have a learning disability

Have a mild mental health issue *

Be an older person (65+)

Individuals being referred to the service MUST also:

Live in Suffolk

Be over 16 years old

Not be accessing another befriending service

Have limited social contact or regularly experience feelings of loneliness and/or isolation

* Please note that The Befriending Scheme will consider applications where the individual has a long-term mental health issue that is well managed. Eligibility is considered on a case-by-case basis. The Befriending Scheme have the right to review the eligibility of individuals at any time where it is felt necessary to do so.

The Befriending Scheme are only currently accepting referral applications in the Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds areas.

Age Groups
16-25 years, Adults, Young people

Accreditation details
We are delighted to announce that The Befriending Scheme has been awarded a Bronze Standard Certificate from the Community Learning & Skills Development provider Realise Futures.


HUB group every Wednesday in Bury St. Edmunds. Gardening, themed activities, refreshments, wii, internet. First visit free.

This is a scheme for people with learning disabilities, costs of activities vary and there are different membership options. Pre booking is required and all information is on our website.



Last Updated

Local Offer Local Offer Record

Experience of including people with special educational needs and disabilities

The Befriending Scheme provides friendship and learning opportunities for people (16yrs+) from vulnerable groups, including those with mental health needs and older people, as well as those with learning disabilities. We also offer various volunteering opportunities with extra support for those who need it.

If you are unsure whether this service is suitable for your needs, please contact us.

01787 371333

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